Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
On the Papagayo Gulf, 40 minutes from Liberia International Airport
The Papagayo is located on the Papagayo Gulf in northwestern Guanacaste, where several large resorts -- including the nearby Four Seasons -- are clustered.
Guanacaste is a dry, sparsely populated area of the country that's known for its beautiful beaches (including ones where sea turtles nest), surfing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and its string of large resorts. The region is home to seven national parks, including Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, where visitors can hike past boiling mud pots and smoking fissures. Guanacaste has a lower elevation than other areas of the country and an arid climate, so there are no rain forests here, but the dry tropical forests are still wildlife rich: Visitors can spot howler monkeys, sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys, and iguanas.
The 202-room Papagayo is an excellent upscale all-inclusive option in Guanacaste, with a decent beach and comfortable (if generic) rooms. It's quieter and classier than your typical all-inclusive, with brand-name liquor, no annoying bracelets, solid (it not exceptional) food, and live music or karaoke rather than embarrassing staff performances. But you'll need to take one of the free hotel shuttles to get around the sprawling property. The hotel will be closing in May of 2015 for renovations to reopen as Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa, a luxury property.